Menu Close
The pagan tradition of celebrating the winter solstice with bonfires on Dec. 21 inspired the early Christian celebrations of Christmas. Gpointstudio/ Image Source via Getty Images

How Christmas became an American holiday tradition, with a Santa Claus, gifts and a tree

Christmas was popularized in the United States during the American Civil War, when Harper’s Weekly featured the image of Santa Claus visiting the Union Army on its front page.
An artist’s impression of the Earth around 2.7 billion years ago in the Archean Eon. With green iron-rich seas, an orange methane-rich atmosphere and a surface dominated by oceans, the Archean Earth would have been a very different place. (Illustration by Andrey Atuchin)

Where did the Earth’s oxygen come from? New study hints at an unexpected source

Could tectonic processes in the early Earth have contributed to the rise of oxygen?
Four Père David’s deer (Elaphurus davidianus), also known as milu deer, on a wetland near the Dafeng Milu National Nature Reserve in Jiangsu Province, China. He Jinghua/VCG via Getty Images

Is China ready to lead on protecting nature? At the upcoming UN biodiversity conference, it will preside and set the tone

China has rich natural resources and is seeking to play a leadership role in global conservation, but its economic goals often take priority over protecting lands and wildlife.
Mehmet Oz speaks on Nov. 8, 2022, shortly before losing his bid for Pennsylvania senator during the midterm elections. Ed Jones/AFP via Getty Images

Celebrities in politics have a leg up, but their advantages can’t top fundraising failures

Celebrity politicians have instant name recognition. But unless they trump competitors in fundraising, and hit other check boxes, they aren’t any more likely to win than traditional politicians.
In deep brain stimulation, electrodes – the pale white lines – are implanted into a patient’s brain and connected to a battery in a person’s chest. Jmarchn/Wikimedia Commons

Treating mental illness with electricity marries old ideas with modern tech and understanding of the brain – podcast

Deep brain stimulation and trasncranial magnetic stimulation treat mental illness by sending electrical currents into parts of the brain. Every new patient provides researchers with a wealth of information. Listen to The Conversation Weekly podcast.
Download this collection of articles, or read them here. The Conversation

A sampler of our most popular articles of 2022

A selection of fact-based journalism from 2022, covering topics ranging from super-earths to mosquito magnets, and from why we need to file tax returns to why we can’t just throw all our trash into volcanoes.
The Catholic hymn, “Te Deum” – which says, “You, God, we praise” – has been used for centuries in Catholic worship for thanksgiving. Iconotheca Valvasoriana Author Jean Marot via Wikimedia Commons.

How medieval Catholic traditions of thanksgiving prayers and feasting shaped the Protestant celebration of Plymouth’s pilgrims

The Pilgrims who started the first Thanksgiving tradition after they landed in Plymouth were following the customs they had grown up with, originating in medieval times.

Support our work

Upcoming Event

Editor's Picks